In the far future, on top of a gigantic tree rooted in the ice ball of a comet, a young man s journey leads to unexpected encounters. … Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere…. a daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food. When it comes time to make his vision quest to the top of the Tree, Torris is completely unprepared for what he finds: first, a thieving and hostile fellow quester; then, Ning, a female hunter from a neighboring tree-bearing comet, who has catapulted across empty space in search of food to save her family; and ultimately, alien visitors in a massive starship that has spent billions of years crossing the galaxy. Shocked at the cultural differences between his home and Ning’s and stunned by the changes precipitated by the arrival of the spaceship, Torris must learn quickly, adapt even faster, and face an uncertain and rapidly changing future unlike anything he has ever imagined. -Goodreads
Children of the Comet Review
Telling a story in two timelines can be hard for a lot of authors to pull off. You have to keep things simple enough that your readers aren’t having to constantly backtrack to remember what happened before the switch, but not so simple that the attention begins to wonder. Few authors ever really fail at it, but on the other hand, few authors ever truly succeed at it. The author managed this. He even went a step further and managed to join the separate timelines together in a way that sounded logical enough to be believable!I can’t say exactly how accurate the science is, as I am most definitely lost when it comes to astronomy, physics, etc, but I was not lost when reading this book. The author manages to get his point across without it coming across as a blob of big-word mumbo jumbo. Though, occasionally, you get the feeling you’re being talked ‘down’ to via the author using a teenager as a device.
For those of you thinking “Riiiiiiiggghht…trees on comets. The author is blowing cheerios out his backside“, apparently it actually has some grounding (pardon the pun), as it was introduced first Bernal, but then brought into larger notice by Freeman Dyson, and Carl Sagan (whom you might know as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s role model if you’re younger) even discussed it in his 1985 non-fiction book “Comet“. Its called “The Dyson Tree” (though in this book its called a Bernal Tree).
I like that the animals aren’t given much description. Just enough to get the point across, but not enough that I can’t spin them into wonderful creatures of my own making in my head. Meatbeast, flutterbeast, etc, are the perfect choice for names to assist this.
I outright cackled at some of the puns and bad jokes that the author unexpectedly dropped in.
Overall: I have no strong negative criticisms of this book. The only reason I didn’t rate it 5 is that it, while solid, it did not quite induce me to rave about how awesome it is. (Though it was very close!)
PS: I was looking up the author to see if he had a twitter account, and I discovered that he died on Dec 10, 2014. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was one of the last things he worked on. If it was, all I can say is Man, he ended on a good note. We lost a talented author when he passed.